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Green vacation: Go on an eco-friendly safari

Green vacation: Go on an eco-friendly safari

The primary goal of modern-day eco-friendly African safaris is to lessen the ove...

Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could lose around 2 percent G.D.P. due to climate change – A.D.B. report

Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could lose around 2 percent G.D.P. due to climate change – A.D.B. report

Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could be looking at economic losses of around 2 ...

South Asian countries face economic losses due to climate change – A.D.B. report

South Asian countries face economic losses due to climate change – A.D.B. report

Various countries in the South Asian region are looking at significant losses du...

World Bank aids Laos’ hydropower with $40 million in financing

World Bank aids Laos’ hydropower with $40 million in financing

The World Bank Group has inked two agreements for around $40 million in financin...

Vestas, EP Global Energy partner for donor-funded wind farm in Jordan

Vestas, EP Global Energy partner for donor-funded wind farm in Jordan

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas and private energy asset developer EP Global En...

World Bank commits $5 billion for African renewable energy projects

World Bank commits $5 billion for African renewable energy projects

The World Bank Group has committed US$5 billion towards supporting energy projec...

Seven creative ways to teach your kids about eco-living

Seven creative ways to teach your kids about eco-living

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3.1 million jobs in the United States w...

Business

Technology

Politics

Heavy rains and floods could be the “new normal”

Heavy rains and floods could be the “new normal”

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Heavy rains and flooding experienced by three countries this weekend could be a sign of the “new normal,” according to the head of the United Nations ...

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Living Green

Nineteen easy ways students can help save Mother Earth

Nineteen easy ways students can help save Mother Earth

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Students are young, creative, energetic and outspoken that is why they have the perfect qualities to help save mother earth. They can be great eco-war...

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Renewables

Low-Carbon

Easy modifications to make your car more efficient

Easy modifications to make your car more efficient

Monday, 22 September 2014

There are plenty of reasons why you might be interested in lowering your car’s emissions. In some states, you may be required to pass a mandatory smog...

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Opinion

Unsustainable urban life: What's next?

Unsustainable urban life: What's next?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Nutrition plays a critical role in everyone’s chance at a better future. Hunger, said Benjamin Franklin once, is the best pickle. Some say “pickle”...

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Researchers look into bacteria-powered water desalination process


Bruce Logan, Kappe professor of environmental engineering (right) and Maha Mehanna, postdoctoral fellow (left) are already at work on the next generation of microbial
desalination cells based on using air cathodes.
Image Courtesy of Penn State Live

A team of researchers from China and the US say bacteria that occur in wastewater can actually be used to produce energy needed in water desalination.

Researchers from the Penn State University and Tsinghua University in Beijing are working on “microbial fuel cells.” In this device, naturally occurring bacteria in the wastewater consume organic material, producing electricity.

The microbial desalination cell first cleans water by removing organic material from it. This process produces electricity which can then be used to desalinate water so that it can be safe for drinking.

Currently, it takes a lot of electricity to desalinate water, which is accomplished in many locations using a process called reverse osmosis, one that pushes water under high pressure through membranes that allow water to pass but not salt.

The researchers, however, admit that the system still has to be improved. In their tests, it took 200 milliliters of artificial wastewater containing acetic acid to desalinate just 3 milliliters of salty water. Another concern is that bacteria that run the cell might have a problem living in highly acidic environments, which happens in the cell as protons work their way from one electrode to another.

“This is not a practical system yet as it is not optimized, but it is proof of concept," Bruce Logan, Kappe professor of environmental engineering at Penn State, said.

The study was reported in a recent online issue of Environmental Science and Technology. It was supported by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.


- Katrice R. Jalbuena



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Reference:

1 http://live.psu.edu/story/40817

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